SYDNEY, Australia (CNN) -- Tropical Cyclone Larry has slammed Monday into the northeastern coast of Australia with gusts up to 300 kilometers per hour (185 mph), authorities in the Australian state of Queensland report.
The eye of the category five storm passed over the beach resort of Innisfail, in the Australian state of Queensland, about 7:30 a.m. (8:30 p.m. Sunday GMT), and was soon downgraded to a still-powerful category four, according to Australia's Bureau of Meteorology.
Top sustained winds at landfall were at 190 km/h (120 mph), but gusts up to 300 km/h were reported, Craig Burke, a forecaster at the airport in Cairns, about 90 kilometers (55 miles) north of Innisfail.
"The reports that we've been receiving through the morning have been quite devastating, actually, with lots of roof and structural damage throughout the community," Burke said.
Widespread power outages were reported as well, he said.
Mandatory evacuation orders were issued ahead of the storm, and most residents moved to safety "well in advance," said Katheryn Ryan, a spokesperson for Queensland's State Emergency Services office.
"The crops are all gone, bananas are all flattened, cane's flattened. It'll kill us for 12 or 18 months," Pervan said.
Snakes and crocodiles
"We are very concerned about it, it's the worst cyclone we've had in decades," Beattie told the Nine television network Monday.
Up to 50,000 homes in the region were without power, and were expected to remain without electricity for several days, Gaylene Whenmouth, a spokeswoman for Ergon Energy Cairns, told AP.
"It is still too windy to send crews out to do restoration, but we will be doing that as soon as we can, whenever it is safe to do so," Whenmouth said.
State Disaster Coordination Center spokesman Peter Rekers said thousands of volunteers were on standby to help with the cleanup, and warned residents to be on their guard for deadly animals stirred up by the storm, AP reports.
"Keep your kids away from flooded drains, be aware of snakes and crocodiles," he said. "Those guys will have had a bad night too."
Larry is the third cyclone to hit Australia's east coast this year and the eighth in waters near Australia during this season, which ends April 30.
It appeared to be the biggest storm ever to hit the country's Pacific coast, which generally sees fewer cyclones than the northern and western coasts.
The worst Australian storm on record was Cyclone Tracy, which killed 65 people in the northern city of Darwin in 1974.